Brotherly Love (1970) Poster

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Great acting. When are we going to see a DVD release?
CinefanR25 January 2012
Well, there's another criminally underrated movie which is nowhere to be found. It's outrageous, really, not having this on DVD yet.

„Brotherly Love" would most likely become a cult classic. The story is interesting and O'Toole is always fascinating to watch.

It's better than most of the stuff we see today, just good old fashioned acting. Compelling social commentary, some good laughs and incredible performances, especially from O'Toole, make this worth watching. It's a shame "Brotherly Love" doesn't get more credit... but, hey, maybe we'll see a DVD release from MGM in this lifetime, and more people will actually get to see it.
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Just boring
Juan-303 August 2007
With the exception of the beautiful naked scenes of Susannah York and for those with weird artistic nudity taste, O'Toole cadaverous body, there is not emotions in the theatrical and convoluted dialog of this movie. O'Toole give us brilliant examples of his acting genius in many of his work, but he leaves an emptiness and a disillusion extraordinary in this incomprehensible and scanty movie. I would say that this portrayal of incestuously relationship English style, was made with the intention of just satisfying a contractual requirement and counting, for its development , only with the effulgence of the people involved in it. If there are no other reasons, is simply a incoherent failure of business endeavor . The theme is very interesting but in this version there is only one definition emerging to the mind: boring!
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Boba_Fett113812 July 2006
This movie was a rather odd viewing experience. The movie is obviously based on a play. Now I'm sure that everything in this movie works out just fine in a play but for in a movie it just doesn't feel terribly interesting enough to watch. The movie is way too 'stagey' and they didn't even bothered to change some of the dialog to make it more fitting for a movie. Instead what is presented now is an almost literally re-filming of a stage-play, with over-the-top characters and staged dialog. Because of all this the storyline really doesn't work out and the movie becomes an almost complete bore- and obsolete viewing experience.

It takes a while before you figure out that this is a comedy you're watching. At first you think its a drama you're watching, with quirky characters in it but as the movie progresses you'll notice that the movie is more a tragicomedy, that leans really more toward the comedy genre, rather than the drama genre.

The characters and dialog are really the things that make this movie a quirky and over-the-top one that at times really become unwatchable. Sure, the actors are great; Peter O'Toole and Susannah York, amongst others but they don't really uplift the movie to a level of 'watchable enough'.

The story feels totally disorientated. Basicaly the story is about nothing and just mainly focuses on the brother/sister characters played by Peter O'Toole and Susannah York. But what exactly is the story even about? The movie feels like a pointless and obsolete one that has very little to offer. Like I said before; I'm sure the story is good and interesting to watch on stage but as a movie it really isn't fitting and simply doesn't work out.

The editing is simply dreadful and times and it becomes even laughable bad in certain sequences.

More was to expect from director J. Lee Thompson, who has obviously done far better movies than this rather failed, stage-play translated to screen, project.

Really not worth your time.

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O'Toole is mesmerizing in this tragi-comedy
Jugu Abraham21 February 2006
Peter O'Toole is a treat to watch in roles where the lines he speaks are good and offer a chance for him to swagger in drunken stupor. The lovely Susannah York provides a good foil for O'Toole's dramatic presence.

The film alludes to incest--without a single explicit scene--but it is able to entertain the viewer in its raucous social commentary. Though this is not major film by any reckoning, it will be remembered for its entertaining performances.

Even York, signing the papers at the end, is a treat to watch, exuding tragedy silently. The possible weakness here is Thompson's laid-back direction. But the film floats because of the actors and the script.

I saw the film twice over a period of 20 years--on both occasions with the name "Brotherly love". "Country dance" is a rather farcical and inappropriate title for this movie, wherever it was released as such.
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"Another gut wrecking emotional cleansing of the Blue Devils of the Soul"
victorsargeant28 August 2005
After all these years, of Peter O'Tool's brilliant, costly giving of his Soul, film after film, at last, Hollywood tosses him an Oscar recently.

Country Dance showed up one night late, and of course, blew me out of my complainant niche in my alleged "Life". How does he do it?

York again also is brilliant in this kind of play. Both psychological battleships loaded for bear....

Bravo to author, director, cast, and camera crew. No wonder the Nazi's lost to these Irish, Scot, English blends....brutal honesty hurts...back in the 70's, when I personally believed "honesty" was pure and absolutely vital to trust. I have modified my edgy extremes, and will settle for more human, warm flaws within myself and others.

Forgiveness allows humanity to have a reverse gear, and allows us to fix our own bull headed egos and erotic mistakes....
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Clearly a waste of the time of a talented cast and director.
GeoffLeo18 December 2004
I thought maybe a film which boasted a cast including Peter O'Toole, Susannah York, Michael Craig & Harry Andrews might be worth watching. Alas, I was wrong. Utter pretentious nonsense from beginning to end with both O'Toole and York overacting wildly. I watched it twice and still have no idea what is was about. I've a feeling O'Toole plays the Laird of a Scottish castle who has a drink problem and likes reliving childhood games with his sister (York). He is also barking mad. But apart from that, your guess is as good as mine.

The film has no redeeming feature whatsoever. I can only assume the cast and director were blackmailed into making this dreary, unimaginative, stagy piffle. Clearly a waste of the time of a talented cast and director. Risible.
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The Theme That Dare Not Speak Its Name
James Hitchcock15 September 2004
Warning: Spoilers
Contains spoilers.

The British director J. Lee Thompson made some excellent films, notably 'Ice Cold in Alex' and 'Cape Fear', but 'Country Dance' is one of his more curious offerings. The story is set among the upper classes of rural Scotland, and details the strange triangular relationship between Sir Charles Ferguson, an eccentric aristocratic landowner, his sister Hilary, and Hilary's estranged husband Douglas, who is hoping for a reconciliation with her. We learn that during his career as an Army officer, Charles was regarded as having 'low moral fibre'. This appears to have been an accurate diagnosis of his condition; throughout the film he displays an attitude of gloomy disillusionment with the world, and his main sources of emotional support seem to be Hilary and his whisky bottle. The film ends with his committal to an upper-class lunatic asylum.

Peter O'Toole was, when he was at his best as in 'Lawrence of Arabia', one of Britain's leading actors, but the quality of his work was very uneven, and 'Country Dance' is not one of his better films. He overacts frantically, making Charles into a caricature of the useless inbred aristocrat, as though he were auditioning for a part in the Monty Python 'Upper-Class Twit of the Year' sketch. Susannah York as Hilary and Michael Craig as Douglas are rather better, but there is no really outstanding acting performance in the film. There is also little in the way of coherent plot, beyond the tale of Charles's inexorable downward slide.

The main problem with the film, however, is neither the acting nor the plot, but rather that of the Theme That Dare Not Speak Its Name. There are half-hearted hints of an incestuous relationship between Charles and Hilary, or at least of an incestuous attraction towards her on his part, and that his dislike of Douglas is motivated by sexual jealousy. Unfortunately, even in the swinging sixties and early seventies (the date of the film is variously given as either 1969 or 1970) there was a limit to what the British Board of Film Censors was willing to allow, and a film with an explicitly incestuous theme was definitely off-limits. (The American title for the film was 'Brotherly Love', but this was not used in Britain; was it too suggestive for the liking of the BBFC?) These hints are therefore never developed and we never get to see what motivates Charles or what has caused his moral collapse, resulting in a hollow film with a hole at its centre. 4/10
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Stagey Drama/Comedy
swnthom4 August 2003
A somewhat typical bit of filmmaking from this era. Obviously, It was first conceived into this world for the stage, but nonetheless a very good film from beginning to end. Peter O'Toole and Susannah York get to do their stage performance act for the silver screen and both do it effectively. There is very little in the way of story and anyone not familiar with this type of off beat character study may be a little put off by it. All in all, though, A good film in which Peter O'Toole and Susannah York get to overact.
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Great acting, fascinating script..
xokatyxo19 November 2001
The undoubted highlight of this movie is Peter O'Toole's performance. In turn wildly comical and terribly terribly tragic. Does anybody do it better than O'Toole? I don't think so. What a great face that man has!

The story is an odd one and quite disturbing and emotionally intense in parts (especially toward the end) but it is also oddly touching and does succeed on many levels. However, I felt the film basically revolved around Peter O'Toole's luminous performance and I'm sure I wouldn't have enjoyed it even half as much if he hadn't been in it.
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